Jonathan Pryce was born John Price on June 1, 1947 in Holywell, Wales in the United Kingdom. He is a two-time Tony and two-time Olivier Award-winning stage actor and a Golden Globe and two-time Emmy-nominated screen actor. He is known for his TV role as The High Sparrow in HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, his film roles in Glengarry Glen Ross, Evita, and Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, and for originating the role of The Engineer in Miss Saigon in London’s West End and on Broadway.
In his early years Pryce attended Holywell Grammar School in Wales and eventually began training to be a teacher at Edge Hill College in Lancashire, England. After appearing in a college production, his tutor applied to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art on his behalf and he was awarded a scholarship. He changed his professional name to Jonathan Pryce to become a member of Actor's Equity (as the name John Price was already taken) and began his professional career on the British stage, working at the Everyman Theatre Liverpool Company (where he would ultimately become artistic director), as well as the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Nottingham Playhouse.
As a stage actor, Pryce has won two Olivier Awards: for his turn in the titular role of Hamlet at the Royal Court Theatre in 1980 and for originating the role of The Engineer in the Schönberg and Boublil musical Miss Saigon in 1990. In addition, he has received a further four Olivier nominations: for his performances as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew (1979), as Fagin in Oliver! (1995), as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (2002), and as Martin Gray in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (2005). His other notable London stage credits include The Seagull (1985), Uncle Vanya (1989), Glengarry Glen Ross (2007), The Caretaker (2010), King Lear (2012), and The Merchant of Venice (2015), among others.
He made his Broadway debut in October 1976 in Trevor Griffiths’ Comedians, winning his first Tony Award in 1977 alongside a Theatre World Award for his performance as Gethin Price. He would win his second Tony in 1991 following the Broadway transfer of Miss Saigon, despite the controversy of casting a Caucasian actor in an Asian role at the time. His other Broadway credits include 1984’s Accidental Death of an Anarchist and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, in which he assumed the role of Lawrence Jameson in 2006.
On screen, Pryce has earned Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominations in 1993 and 1994, respectively, for his performance as Henry Kravis in Barbarians at the Gate, and he earned an Emmy Award nomination in 2010 for Cranford. A whole new audience discovered him thanks to his TV role as The High Sparrow on HBO’s global phenomenon Game of Thrones in 2015 and 2016. He has starred alongside Glenn Close in the 2017 film The Wife and played the role of Sir Stuart Strange on the 2017 BBC/FX series Taboo. His many screen credits also include the role of Cardinal Wolsey in the 2015 BBC/PBS Wolf Hall television adaptation, the role of James Lingk in the 1992 Glengarry Glen Ross film adaptation, Colonel Juan Perón in the 1996 Evita film adaptation, James Bond villain Elliot Carver in 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies, and Governor Weatherby Swann in the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films in 2003, 2006, and 2007.
In October 2018, Pryce returned to the West End stage to star as Andre alongside Dame Eileen Atkins in Florian Zeller’s The Height of the Storm, which closed in December 2018. Courtesy of Manhattan Theatre Club, the production transferred to Broadway to play the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre from September 10 through November 24, 2019.